Is it ever acceptable to send a B2B email marketing campaign that does not include a call to action? My interactive marketing agency uses HTML email campaigns to follow up with trade show attendees, using the list provided to exhibitors. The messages are along the lines of "hope you stopped by our booth, we can help you achieve your marketing/branding goals and look forward to speaking with you soon." There is no personalization, no call to action or any links -- just two block paragraphs of text and the Web site URL along with an image.
Wouldn't a better approach be to send customized emails to those we met with, acknowledging we met them and summarizing how our agency could help them meet their challenges with a "learn more now" link to the appropriate page on our site (better yet, a landing page developed specifically to meet the prospect's needs). To the attendees we didn't meet, the email would say we wished we could have met them to talk about our interactive capabilities, summarize a few key points and then provide a "read more about these solutions and services" now and drive them to the products/interactive services page.
We recently launched an e-newsletter for clients with industry news and tips. There's no reason prospects can't receive it.
Agency Account Planner
You are 100% right. This directionless message is a waste of your prospects' time and a poor reflection of your company's interactive marketing capabilities. Even if the goal is to avoid a hard sell, you should provide information of interest to customers and make it easy for them to find more. Remember that prospects are reading your email with one question in mind: What's In It For Me? If the message is: "it was nice to possibly have met you at a conference," the answer to WIIFM? is: "absolutely nothing."
The Email Diva once worked for a large company and had many vendors trying to get a foot in the door. Most left voice mail messages that were never returned. A few did such a great job with their VMs that I was compelled to call them back. These messages were typically, "We just did X for Company Y which accomplished Z and would like to talk to you about how we could achieve similar results for your company." The company mentioned would be aligned with ours or a competitor. This should be the basis for your message to prospects. It describes your service, focuses on measurable results and demonstrates an understanding of the prospect's industry in one tidy package.
Another approach would be to add a prospect-focused message at the top of your industry e-newsletter: "We hope you enjoyed the (name of trade show). Here is a sample of our monthly newsletter, filled with industry tips and techniques. We invite you to subscribe or visit our web site to find out more about our services, which include...."
You could personalize the message with whether the prospect visited the booth, the salesperson's name, etc. but most attendees won't remember every booth and contact from a trade show. If there was a significant interaction, the salesperson should follow up with a personal email, reminding the prospect of the specific opportunity discussed and suggesting some times for a follow-up call.
In no case should you use big blocks of text in your messages. Break up text with bullets, short sentences, bold print, caps, images etc. Make it scan-able. The most prominent elements should draw the reader into the more detailed text. You only have a few seconds to capture interest. (Yes, I know this article is in block paragraphs, but its purpose is to inform, not sell.) Experiment with text as well as graphic links, test copy, size and placement.
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The Email Diva
Send your questions or submit your email for critique to Melinda Krueger, the Email Diva, at email@example.com. All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.